|Posted September 17, 2008|
2-0 T-Wolves await next biggest challenge
RMAC power Chadron State next on CSU-Pueblo's to-do list.
CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/CHRIS McLEAN -- Colorado State University-Pueblo quarterback Bobby Washington ices his arm after being sacked Saturday against Fort Lewis College in Durango last Saturday.
By JOE E. CERVI
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
With all due respect to the football programs at Oklahoma
Panhandle and Fort Lewis, Colorado State University-Pueblo should
be 2-0 at this point in the young season.
Yes, the ThunderWolves are part of a program that's been on a 24-year hiatus. But the talent level and passion for football is far greater in Pueblo this season than in Goodwell, Okla., or Durango.
"It's our belief, our attitude, that we should've beaten those two teams," CSU-Pueblo head coach John Wristen said Tuesday. "Looking at the way we're trying to do things here, we felt like we should be 2-0 right now."
Panhandle hasn't won a game in its last 30 and Fort Lewis was 1-9 a season ago.
The ThunderWolves, however, aren't going to pull a muscle patting themselves on the back. While it's great to look back and celebrate the brief and successful history that has lasted all of two weeks, looking ahead, now just three days ahead, is a slap of reality right in the helmet. "Things are different this week. There is a huge challenge in front of this team and we'd better be ready for that challenge," Wristen said.
CSU-Pueblo on Saturday plays host to Chadron State College, a perennial power not just in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, but in Division II football. The Eagles (2-1) are ranked No. 18 in the American Football Coaches Association poll. Their one loss is a 38-31 decision to Pittsburg (Kan.) State, now ranked No. 7.
"We played well at Fort Lewis, especially on defense. Hopefully that carries us through practice this week and into Saturday's game," Wristen said. "At the same time, we have a lot of work to do in a lot of different areas."
The ThunderWolves also will go into battle without starting quarterback Bobby Washington.
He was hurt on the first play in the second half against Fort Lewis. He injured his wrist - a severe sprain but not a break - and is out this week.
"It is what it is," Wristen said. "We can't worry about when we'll get Bobby back. He's our guy, but we have to wait until he can come back. We have to play with the players we have available."
Freshman Sean Gavin, a 17-year-old from California, gets the start in Washington's place. Gavin was efficient enough in the second half last week, going 8-for-11 for 43 yards and no interceptions.
"We have to do a better job of protecting our quarterback and running the football," Wristen said. "Our offensive line is a work in progress. I'm not sure they all know each other's names at this point."
SPECIAL AWARD: For the second time in as many weeks, a CSU-Pueblo player was honored by the conference. Freshman kicker Kyle Major earned special teams player of the week for his performance against Fort Lewis.
Major was 3-for-3 in field goals and 4-for-4 in PATs. The 13 points compliments of his right foot were 6 more than the entire Skyhawks team.
He also handled the ThunderWolves' punting duties. Major was roughed up on a punt attempt (drawing a 15-yard penalty) but remained flawless against the Skyhawks.
"I'm getting to where I want to be," Major said. "My ankle finally healed, but then it got hurt on that punt attempt, so I'm just trying to get healthy for this week."
CSU-Pueblo returner Markus Turner earned the same honor in Week 1.
ON THE AIR: This week's game at the ThunderBowl is the RMAC's game of the week. It will be broadcast live on Altitude 2 (Dish Network 448, DirecTV 682, Comcast (CET) Colorado Springs and Pueblo 4, My KKTV Colorado Springs,141 and My KKTV Pueblo 246) with a re-broadcast at 1 p.m. Sunday on Altitude. In addition, these games will be available live on KSPK-TV, the B2 Networks, and possibly some other cable affiliates in the RMAC footprint.
COACH SPEAK: Rev 89, the campus radio station, is home to a sports talk show featuring Wristen every Monday night during the football season. The hour-long program is broadcast live from Andy McCarthy's from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on 89.5 FM.
AROUND THE RMAC: Colorado Mines receiver Adam Saur earned RMAC offensive player of the week, as well as the NFFCC player of the week, after he caught 11 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns in the Orediggers' 35-28 win over Western New Mexico . . . Nic Pade of Mesa State recorded 11 tackles and two sacks to earn conference defensive player of the week honors.